Historic Birmingham retailer is defying gloom in the wider sector by investing £1.7 million in its first foray into the East Midlands.
The independent retailer, which celebrated 110 years in business in 2012, is opening up a giant new store in Derby, weeks after revealing a rise in revenues.
The Broad Street firm has taken over the Co-Op building in the city to create a 65,000 sq ft home department store selling furniture, lighting, carpets, linens, accessories, cookshop items and small electrical appliances.
More than 35 new jobs are expected to be created as part of the deal and an extensive fit-out programme will start shortly
Darren Campo, financial director at Lee Longlands, said it was an unprecedented move for the firm founded by George Longland and Robert Lee in 1902.
He said: “This is the biggest investment we’ve made in over a decade and, when launched, will become Derbyshire’s biggest home department store spanning four levels and offering an eclectic mix of styles, brand names and exciting new ranges.”
Mr Campo said the decision to target Derby came after trialling a much smaller offer in the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre in 2010.
The new East Midlands outlet joins its flagship Birmingham store and other outlets in Cheltenham, Leamington Spa and Oxfordshire.
In what is a slight change in direction, the firm is also planning to provide dedicated cookshop and giftware sections. Mr Campo said the firm was set to go on a major promotion push following the investment.